Best American Born Goaltender

With the well-earned retirement of Richter’s sweater into the rafters of MSG and the resurgence of all of the “Richter is the best American born goalie ever” talk going on, I thought it would be an interesting discussion to try and decide who the best was. I am very interested to see the opinion of those HTR members outside of the US.I limited this to the Modern Era, so Frank Brimsek has been taken out of the running even though he put up some great numbers in the …cough cough…1920’s.

That limitation left me with 3 goalies. The next question I used to take the number down to 2 was “Did they ever win a cup?” That question eliminated John Vanbiesbrouck from the running, even though he is the current all time US leader in wins and games played – and he did win a Vezina too.

That left me with the first two goalies that came to mind – Richter and Barrasso. So I took a look at their career Stats and Accomplishments(awards, honors….etc.)

Before I begin though, let me say that both men are class acts and have been throughout their respective careers. I admire both and think a case could be made for each of them as the greatest American born goalie. Although Richter was much easier to like. Barrasso had a reputation as being a loner.

Now my take….and as you will see there are some interesting parallels, which only serve to make the comparison that more palpable. Both men also were re-signed to their cup winning teams and retired with them.


Richter – age 37, seasons 14


GP – 666 (satan?)

W – 301

L – 258

T – 73

Min – 38,183

GA – 1,840

SA – 19,219

SO – 24

GAA – 2.89

SV% – .904

Barrasso – age 38, seasons 19


GP – 777

W – 369

L – 277

T – 86

Min – 44,180

GA – 2,385

SA – 22,090

SO – 38

GAA – 3.23

SV% – .892




GP – 76

W – 41

L – 33

Min – 4,514

GA – 202

SA – 2,430

SO – 9

GAA – 2.68

SV% – .917



GP – 119

W – 61

L – 54

Min – 6,953

GA – 349

SA – 3,569

SO – 6

GAA – 3.01

SV% – .902


————Richter ———-

01/02 – Olympic Silver Medal and Tournament All Star

95/96 – USA World Cup Gold and All Star

3 time NHL All Star

All Star MVP 94

All-Time USA Hockey Team

Shares playoff record most wins – 16 (with Barrasso and others)

One of only 8 NHL goalies ever to post 4 SO in one playoff season

—————–Barrasso ————-

Last goalie to play directly out of High School

01/02 US Olympic Silver

83/84 – Vezina

83/84 – Calder

83/84 – All Rookie Team

3 Time NHL All Star

84/85 – Jennings Trophy

2nd all-time wins(US) Beezer is #1

2nd all-time games played(US) Beezer is #1

2nd all time SO (US) Brimsek is #1

Shares playoff record most wins – 16 (with Richter and others)

Shares playoff record most consecutive wins – 14


After taking into account all of the numbers and all of the awards and accomplishments I have to give the nod to…………???? How can you pick? Barrasso had a better, more distinguished career, yet Richter was the better goalie talent-wise (in my opinion). Barrasso was just steady and Richter was Flashy and acrobatic. Two completely different styles, yet two very good goalies. Richter was the last/only Ranger i could actually cheer for and not feel remorse. It was very sad to see such a great talent cut short by injury.

That being said, who do I pick……Barrasso wins on the basis of 2 Cups, 1 Calder, 1 Jennings, and 1 Vezina. Now if you asked me who I would rather have if I needed to win one game – Richter.

(((Stats were taken from TSN, Internet Hockey Database, and USA Hockey)))

88 Responses to Best American Born Goaltender

  1. Jimmy2BallBagsFU says:

    He had a great view from the bench

  2. big_booty says:

    Wrong – numbers do “solely define a player.” They are all that matter.

    They determine what sort of contract a player signs. They determine a player’s place in the history of the sport. Numbers are all that matters in any sport.

    It doesn’t matter if a guy is a class individuals. There are tons upon tons of classy guys out there who haven’t won a damn thing.

    “Class can lead to good numbers.”

    Are you taking mikster’s medication? A statement like that makes absolutely no sense.

    Just because you’re classy doesn’t make you good. Class can’t make up for talent and effort. Is a goalie who loses his games because he’s just not good enough going to stick around because he buys the team pizza and beer all the time?

    Numbers. Wins, losses, cups, GAA, etc. They are what matter. They are the only thing that is recorded and remembered.

    “Class” is not a statistic.

  3. Primis says:

    No Cup……sold himself desperately as a back up to other teams…..

    Yes he admittedly doesn’t have a Cup. But aside from Richter’s one Cup he never did much of anything for his team either, so I don’t know how valid a credential a Cup is versus solid success period.

    1996 was not a declining year for him and Florida was not crummy back then.

    Yes, Florida WAS crummy! They overachieved and part of it was Beezer put them on his back and carried him. Go ahead and name some players from that Cup Finals team that havehad All-Star or memorable careers.

    When you think of that team, Beezer is one of thew first guys you think of. That’s because most all of the rest on that team are completely forgettable.

    His resume` doesn’t beat Richter’s and Barrasshole’s.

    Barrasso won Cups with PIT but that’s about it. He played on *GOOD* teams, and he very-rarely had to step up and win or steal a game himself.

    Richter had the ability to steal games, but ultimately he was also inconsistent, oft-injured, and really never accomplshed much of anything aside from that one Cup.

    I’d take Vanbiesbrouck over the other two any day.

    — Primis.

  4. big_booty says:

    Toes? The man couldn’t even reach his kneecaps.

    He went way downhill after you left. The guy barely went to class, and was constantly a bad influence on me. I lost count of how many times he dragged me to Jack’s or House of Pie.

    Funny story – no lie. We’re in Whitey’s basement at 8 E-courts and Cro is slouched on the sofa in front of the stereo. He rested his beer on his gut, then proceeded to drink out of it without using his hands. I never laughed so hard in my life.

    And Denny? What a tool that guy was – and still is. He’s a cop in Springfield. I wonder how many traffic violators he’s sodomized.

  5. Primis says:

    16 out of 30 teams have candian starters

    and 11 are quebecers Vive la QMJHL


    However one of the more-underlooked stories is also the number of good, young American goalies up-and-coming. They’re young so they’re not all at that level yet but… I think it’s safe to say that the future for American goaltending is looking FAR better right now than it ever has at any point in the past. Rick Dipietro, Ryan Miller, Al Montoya, and then you have to remember that a guy like Brian Boucher in Phoenix or Robert Esche in Philly is still fairly young and as a goalie still could make some serious noise.

    USA Hockey has finally made strides, helped partially by the fact that the caliber of play in NCAA Hcokey continues to improve, and also by the growing grass-roots of youth and high school hockey.

    Looking at the age of some of those quebecer goalies, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if in 5 years or so a bunch of them could suddenly find themselves being replaced by American (like those named above) or European goalies (Kari Lehtonen, Stefan Liv, Ari Ahonen)…

    — Primis.

  6. Spektor says:

    Yes I know but I am just wondering why you still choose to use bullox? What the hell is bullox? Is it a form of medication?

  7. Spektor says:

    You’re right, he wouldn’t. What would the story be then? Would he be getting the same attention he is getting now? I thought the guy was good but I don’t know if he would have stood out on a brutalteam the way Luongo stands out on the Panthers.

  8. cgolding says:

    honestly i know nothing about it. i just know that strongbad used it in one of his cartoons and it cracked me up.

  9. FlyinBrian says:

    Are you for real?

    Your ridiculous defence of misusing the English language is that it is not in the “American vernacular”? Without even having to waste my time in proving that “bollocks” is clearly in the “American vernacular” (you just proved that, fool) very few words can be properly called American. I can only think of McJob, Freedom Fries, fake WMDs… oh, and the grammatical atrocities of ebonics should be included I guess.

    Otherwise, 95% of the words you use aren’t American and yet probably all are a part of the “American vernacular”.

    In the future, please refrain from hiding your ignorance with glib and nonsensical explanations. American isolationism and bombastic self-importance is one of the reasons why the rest of the world finds you guys tiresome.

  10. matteo says:

    I just remember waking up in the middle of the night before a game against U of Illinois at a tournament in Johnstown at the War Memorial.

    All I remember hearing was running water and when I opened my eyes Cro was standing on a hotel chair pissing on the TV.

    They don’t have therapy strong enough to get that image out of your head.

  11. matteo says:

    My compatriot chooses to use the word Bullox, adding the “x” at the end to replace the “cks.” That works here in America because we have the freedom to do that if we wish….our language is ever evolving….sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. If he has a reason for doing that then let him bee. Why does it get your a$$hole puckered if he chooses to do so.

    Secondly, the man is correct. The root word is “bullocks,” which is NOT an everday expression in the vernacular. Which is also defined by Webster’s dictionary as a steer, or bull. That my friend is the root of the phrase don’t mind the bullocks…..which is the same as saying “Don’t mind the bull” – henceforth the word “bullshit” being used to describe something untruthful or misleading. Which. if I am understanding my compatriot correctly is his meaning.

    Perhaps we should add yet another phrase to our lexicon and just simply begin saying, “Don’t mind the FlyinBrian.” Because, to me, that would be the same as saying “don’t mind the bullshit.”

    PS- Have a pleasant night’s sleep living under the security that is provided by being neighbors with the most powerful nation in the world…we don’t mind. It is a small service our men and women who serve in the greatest fighting force in the world provide to you free of charge. So keep mocking the US you audaciously ignorant and petulant little man. May a thousand fleas infest your nether regions.

  12. cgolding says:

    actually i’m completely not serious, because it is a stupid thing to get upset about and it cracked me up that “TheSheriff” got all uppity about it. thus it was yes a ridiculous defense, but that really has nothing to do with the fact that i pawned it out of a CARTOON and just use it for fun.

    And no, “bollocks” is not in the american vernacular, and me using it in no way proves it is in the American Vernacular. I have no idea what/where ‘bollocks’ means and/or came from. And i have NEVER heard someone use the word “bollocks” in a fashion that i understood.

    so we turn to the definition of “vernacular” : Native to or commonly spoken by the members of a particular country or region.(one of many)

    do you really believe that the word “bollocks” falls under that definition for americans? cuz i’ve seriously NEVER heard anyone say it until i watched the stupid cartoon. so if NO ONE uses the word, then it is not in the American Vernacular, at least in a general sense. It may very well be true that it is used in other parts of the country, but in living in the Northeast for most of my life, and the Midwest for a short time, I’ve never heard it.

    but please, do a survey study and prove to me that “bollocks” is in the American Vernacular.

    [“Otherwise, 95% of the words you use aren’t American and yet probably all are a part of the “American vernacular. ]

    is anyone questioning this? English and French speaking Canada do not speak native languages to that territory either… this has something to do with the fact that we all have the same origins… However, there is very much a Canadian Vernacular, as well as an American Vernacular. For instance the use of the word “Zed.”

    [In the future, please refrain from hiding your ignorance with glib and nonsensical explanations. American isolationism and bombastic self-importance is one of the reasons why the rest of the world finds you guys tiresome.]

    that is a stupid thing to say about something that has absolutely nothing to do with our country. and America is anything but an isolationist right now, the reason for the backlash is specifically because we AREN’T being isolationists. Isolationism implies that we stay within our border, where as right now we are sorta spread all over the world. And whatever, i really could care less if you liked me, us, or anything else. Why people are upset with us is a large and complicated thing, and about 50% of America isn’t happy with what is going on at the moment, myself included.

    so grow up, and shut up. bashing countries has no place on this board, and only brings about discussions that are not fun, embittering, and show the ignorance of individuals on both sides.

    talk hockey.

    don’t sweat the small stuff… like how i spell bullox. cuz quite honestly i didn’t look it up, i got it from a cartoon, and i just dropped an x as opposed to cks. not a big deal.

    nevermind the bullox,


  13. BarryMelrosesMullet says:

    This might not be true but I hav just heard that Richter is a fag and his dream was to not win the cup, but play with Glenn Anderson if youknow what i mean.

  14. cgolding says:

    they aren’t in the american vernacular, no one calls them that but the jack-holes in dc, and backwater idiots. disregarding the fact that fries are from belgium in the first place… so basically the gov’t pointed out that we were idiots in the first place.

  15. BarryMelrosesMullet says:

    You stupid man. Please refrain from trying to make sense of your own bullshit, it is both tiresome and ignorant.

    the term “ballocks is british slang for balls/tesicles

    “nevermind the ballocks” is a british phrase used to express nevermind the dicking around, fooling around or bullshit.

    the term “ballocks is british slang for balls/tesicles

    Bullox is not the root word of the phrase bullocks you dumbass. That would essentially mean I could butcher any word i want and claim it is a derivative of an actual word in the English dictionary. ie fucks-fux.

    Things may be different in the American dictionary but I suppose that would explain why half your nation sounds like Forest Gump!

    You are a stupid shit to make a comment about providing security for your neighbouring nation because your ignorance was just proven by you own flapping lips. The senseless death of your soldiers on a daily basis is only possible because of Canadian troops relieving your soldiers in Afghanistan to fight a war for WMD that don’t even exist. The belief of your ignorant and ill informed nation in a fuck-up of an administration has the rest of the world looking at the US as the New York Rangers of the international community….a laughing stock. Your general attitude about doing whatever the fuck you want because that is the American way is half of your ignorance and makes me laugh inside to see you stupid chumps wondering why planes are being flown into your buildings.

    So the next time you want to bring something outside of hockey into your limited capacity for conversation, think twice and shut your fucking mouth and be grateful your not living in Philidelphia!

  16. BarryMelrosesMullet says:

    Good point! Some of these guys take this too far dude!

  17. MAniac29 says:

    “Pathetic”?? Come on mik, not pathetic. Numbers can stretch the truth at the most. Career numbers for guys in the league for more than 10 seasons really do nothing but speak the truth. Barrasso had injuries too, in fact injuries caused him to miss time and the Penguins had to get a replacement, which resulted in his “disloyalty” since Mike Richter is so loyal. Did Tommy B ever leave the PEns for more money? Nope! Yea, he was short with the media often, but the guys young daughter was battling cancer for many of the great seasons in his career…..come on man…

  18. cgolding says:

    enough of this, it has no place on this site.

    the simple truth is that for right or wrong, the canadian gov’t % spends much less on defense, which allows them to spend more on health and education. where the US spends much more on defense, and less on others.

    were not even gonna deal with how stupid some canadian accents are, and admittedly america has some fun ones as well.

    canada benefits from this, and anyone that doesn’t realize that is living in a fantasy world. during the arms race of the Cold War canada did not have to get involved in it because they lived under the blanket of protection provided by the US… as well as most of the other nations of NATO.

    “Your general attitude about doing whatever the fuck you want because that is the American way is half of your ignorance and makes me laugh inside to see you stupid chumps wondering why planes are being flown into your buildings. “

    you’re a sick fuck.

    and personally, i’m grateful i don’t live in the crap of an economy that exists north of the border, and that my money is actually worth more than spit on the international market.

    nevermind the bullox,


  19. matteo says:

    First of all there is no “u” in neighboring in America….Second of all I am from Philadelphia, and while I don’t hold Canadians in any contempt whatsoever, I do think you are a ballbag. Having said that, the reason that there aren’t planes flying into your buildings is because your country is so sickeningly “vanilla” that the biggest problem that you have is the government launching a probe into Don Cherry saying that the only players that wear visors are europeans and french guys. That must be one busy government. It must be nice to be able to live in such ignorance that Don Cherry is your government’s biggest news item. You probably couldnt get your government to take a stand as to which is better Coke or Pepsi.

    I may be wrong this time, however, I am not so sure that my interpretation isn’t better. Unless we are talking about you asking your “male friend” what that was slapping against your chin and his reply was….don’t mind the ballocks.”



    ballocks (coarse) (slang)

    plural noun

    1. The testicles.

    singular noun

    1. Rubbish; nonsense.

    Example: Don’t talk such bollocks


    1. Rubbish! nonsense!; a dismissive expression of disbelief.

    What makes more sense…..don’t mind the balls or don’t mind the rubbish/nonsense. For you I know it must be don’t mind the balls….I bet alot of your dates say that to you.

    Curse you for ruining my 3 day streak of talking about just hockey…..

    I am starting again…….riiiight now. Nothing but Hockey.

  20. matteo says:

    sniff sniff…….you guys do make great hockey sticks……

  21. BarryMelrosesMullet says:

    The only reason Canada remained neutral during the Cold War dumbass was because it’s large geographical mass has many points that are essential strategic points for defending and launching an attack. Northern Canada, Russian bases along the east coast of Newfoundland were a very real possibility in the 50’s and it was the US’s self interest in protection that allows Canada to spend on healthcare and education.

    I’m a sick fuck??? Keep watching CNN buddy. I suppose our occupation as an international spy is good enough reason for you to be so happy that your currency does well on the international market. Do yourself a favour, if you ever get out of that tractorpulling town you live in, drive across the border at any point and just watch how the condition of the roads and the street lights change and then you can drive right back into the shanty town slums that make up a considerable portion of your country’s communities.

    nevermind the bollocks,


  22. BarryMelrosesMullet says:

    Ouch, you do live in Philidelphia??? Why didn’t you just say so to begin with and I wouldn’t have been so hard on you. It explains your discontent.

    I guess our government should create their own agenda and pull the wool over their own people at their own expense(which isn’t hard to do….all it takes is budwieser, monster trucks and “sweet home alabama”) and invade other nations to satisfy their alterior motives. Yeah, your right it would make the news alot more interesting.

    Hey what do I know, as soon as the movie of the week comes out, I will be proven wrong for sure!!!

  23. BarryMelrosesMullet says:

    and you guys do have nicer uniforms that us and you guys now own all of our hockey equipment manufacturers.

  24. cgolding says:

    i live in philly… and you were a member of NATO were you not? i mean the officer in charge of NORAD is canadian… so not that neutral.

    nevermind the bullox,


  25. Leaf_Expert says:

    1 name for all your american hopes….

    “Al Montoya”!!!

  26. matteo says:

    Say Hello to my liddle friend…..

    Oh wait…that was Tony Montana….sorry

  27. Lint07 says:

    1. Mike Richter

    2. John Vanbiesbrouck

    3. Tom Barrasso

  28. matteo says:

    You have a very strange picture of Philly….it is not Bud, Monster Trucks and “Sweet Home Alabama”…….here is a really crazy idea…if you are looking for that…..try Alabama….that is a good start.

    Besides we have Michael Handzus’ mullet and that thing kills Melrose’s….so take that you crazy carpet ridin canuck

  29. matteo says:

    Linty, I respect ya and all, but you are killing me with that…..I think you are gettin a little light in those dancing shoes of yours.

    How can you put Tommy B 3rd?

  30. matteo says:

    All part of the master plan…..

    we have the stanley cup…..muuuuu hahahahaha

    and we have the World Cup….muuuu hahahaha

    and we have the World Juniors Cup….muuu hahahaha

    and we have the Paper Cup…muuuu….ohh nevermind I was on a roll.

    We also have the Winnipeg Jets and the Quebec Nordiques…..muuuuuu hahahahaha

    Next we are going to kidnap Hakaan Loob and begin our assault on European hockey…..muuuuu hahahaha…..

    pass the ritalin……….please

  31. kingbobert says:

    My comment was to point out that american goalies are underrated, richter and beezer where two of my favorite goalies. I always like richters style…

    Montaya!!!!!!!!!! cant believe i fogot him…my god what a superpower this guy is going to be but what sucks is he’ll probably wind up playing for a sucky team and he diserves more than too have all the pressure on his back

  32. big_booty says:

    I thought you did.

    Rem Murray, Tomas Kloucek, and Marek Zidlicky would look pretty good on Broadway right now.

  33. big_booty says:

    You’re wasting your time.

    Even when you have a good point, and you’re right, the mikster still won’t listen. He’ll believe you’re the Antichrist for doubting him

  34. Lint07 says:

    who would be 3rd, then?

    He did won those cups, you know (yeah I know the Pens were scoring 10 goals per game at that time but isn’t Grant Fuhr an Hall of famer now?)

  35. matteo says:

    Tommy B



  36. Lint07 says:

    ohh! I thought you meant he didn’t deserve to be on the list… it made me scratch my head and wonder why!

    Sorry bout that.

    I did hesitate and almost put him at #2 but I don’t know, it may just be because I simply like Beezer more than Barrasso. It was more of a sentimental choice than anything, let’s say it’s a tie at #2.

    Richter is #1 hands down in my opinion, though. The Rangers would’ve made the playoffs last year and he would’ve had even better career numbers if it wasn’t for this freak injury. Besides, Richter was the #1 goalie for the US in the last olympics…

    I’m glad Richter is starting to get some well-deserved respect now. He’ll be an hall of famer eventually…

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